Roosting turkeys is a very important step to becoming a turkey hunter.
One of the first steps in becoming a successful turkey hunter is understanding the ins and outs of roosting turkeys. “Roosting” a turkey means finding where it sleeps and using this information to plan a successful hunt.
Why Do Turkeys Sleep in Trees?
Turkeys sleep in trees for one basic reason: safety. Trees provide the protection they need to avoid being eaten by predators in the darkness. Unlike other quarry we hunt (e.g., whitetail deer), turkeys never move during the night unless absolutely necessary. Turkeys predictably fly up in a tree at dusk and come out in the morning to begin their day, weather permitting.
The Turkey Roost
Turkey roosts can be identified in a number of ways. The easiest is calling turkeys the night before or very early on the morning of the hunt.
The second way is finding sign, which can be difficult. In areas where turkeys roost you will see lots of bird droppings. Turkey droppings will be larger and may contain a mix of turkey feathers. Often turkeys will roost for generations in the same trees. These locations can be hard to miss if you are paying attention to the evidence when you come across it.
Where Roost Trees are Located
Roosting trees are often located immediately next to an area where they can fly down with a clear landing. This can be as predictable as a farm field or as surprising as a commercial parking lot. Although this does account for the vast majority of roosting, there are areas of the country where turkeys roost inside a forest without a field to land in.
Roosting trees tend to have good-sized branches that lay parallel to the ground. There can be as few as one turkey to as many as dozens in a single tree. In the spring as males being their search for breeding hens they can often change roosts many times and break from the larger flock.
Day Break at a Turkey Roost
Turkeys are a very vocal animal at first sign of light. Their morning will begin with a series of loud gobbles as they begin to wake up. This can last for some time until eventually they fly down and begin their day’s work on the ground. For this reason there tends to be a lot of human/turkey conflict in developed areas where residents are awakened every morning by the chatter of a turkey roost. Sometimes local people talking about this can be a great indicator on where to find a good turkey hunting location.
Why this all Matters
Once you have located a turkey roost you have done the crucial lead work. Setting up around turkey roosts in the early hours can prove to be a deadly tactic which is covered in other articles here on Morning Thunder.